01/30/12 — County netted 468 jobs in 2011

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County netted 468 jobs in 2011

By From staff reports
Published in News on January 30, 2012 1:46 PM

Expansion at 15 Wayne County companies created 605 jobs and made $56.3 million in new investments in the county during 2011. Those gains were offset somewhat by the closing of four companies and the loss of 137 jobs for a net gain of 468 jobs.

Those were the findings of the Wayne County Development Alliance's report for industry recruitment, retention and expansion for the calendar year 2011.

"The growth and stability of our existing industry has helped us to weather the last few years as we've faced tough economic times," said Mike Haney, Development Alliance vice president and existing industry specialist. "Many of our industries had no formal announcements, rather they quietly added 10, 20, 30 jobs here and there. It adds up, and we are thankful to be able to report this good news."

There were two major announcements last year from existing industries.

Cooper Standard Automotive announced in September the creation of 137 new jobs and a combined investment with its customers of $39.6 million. In October, AAR Corp. announced it would be adding 100 new jobs. Earlier in 2011, AAR also made a $1.5 million investment as part of an expansion needed to fulfill a contract.

The companies that closed were General Electric, 31 jobs; Coca-Cola, 91 jobs; Goldsboro Machine Shop, nine jobs; and Woodtech, six jobs.

"One of the goals in our five-year strategic plan is the creation of 2,000 new jobs," said Jim Daniels, Development Alliance chairman. "With the progress made from our existing industries in 2011, we are well on our way to seeing that goal achieved."

There were no new industry announcements in 2011. However, the Development Alliance prepared 39 requests for proposal packages in response to inquiries made from industrial prospects.

As a result of those inquiries, the Development Alliance hosted nine site visits to the county by either company executives or site location consultants.

"Recruitment continues to be extremely competitive," said Joanna Helms, Development Alliance president. "We had our name at the table for many projects in 2011, but none that came to fruition. That's why it's imperative we support our existing industrial base. Mike Haney has done a great job as a leader in advocacy for Wayne County industry."